Audi to add Solar Charging to Electric Vehicles

Audi have stated that they wish to include solar charging components in their future electric vehicles. This should allow for a small, but positive increase in the range of their electric vehicles. The company announced a partnership with Hanergy, a Chinese solar cell manufacturer. The result of this partnership will likely be solar cells on the roofs of Audi’s electric vehicles.

Audi issued a press release, stating the following:

“As the first step, Audi and Hanergy want to integrate Alta Devices’ thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. In the future, almost the entire roof surface is to be covered with solar cells. The electricity they generate will flow into the car’s electrical system and can supply for example the air-conditioning system or the seat heaters – a gain in efficiency that has a direct positive impact on the range of an electric vehicle.”

It will be interesting to see what the results of this feature will be. It seems that the purpose of the solar panels will be to add another level of comfort to the vehicle, without sacrificing battery life. This should add an additional level of sophistication and luxury to Audi’s future range of EVs. We wonder how Audi’s solar powered roof will cater to customers that don’t use the air-conditioning in their vehicles. Will the power be redirected to the car’s primary battery pack or will this energy go to waste?

 

Are Solar-Powered Vehicles a Reality?

Audi are not the first to consider solar power in vehicles. Tesla considered the idea but disregarded it due to the increase in range being too minimal for the feature to be worthwhile. Solar power is nowhere near as effective as pure electricity from a wall outlet. Additionally, it can be dependent on factors such as weather, time and climate. This makes it difficult for vehicle manufacturers to efficiently use it.

Every day, vehicle manufacturers are finding ways to store and use electricity more efficiently. We hope that manufacturers like Audi are able to make improvements to current solar technology, allowing the concept of solar power in a vehicle to be much more viable. Although a fully solar-powered car is still a long way away, it is interesting that car manufacturers are considering ways to conserve and save energy via solar panels.